Lacey Hennessey believes everyone has a marketable skill.
After talking to her for a few minutes, however, you realize she has more skills than most.
Her business started when she was a student in the parks, recreation and tourism management program at Clemson University, and looking to make some extra money to help pay for her school and living expenses.
“I was able to use my artistic ability to have a little fun while earning the extra money I needed,” she says. “I made things like fraternity coolers and decorative items for people’s apartments, and kept getting new business from people telling others to ‘see if Lacey does it’.”
If she didn’t know how to do something she was asked to create, she’d look it up online and become an expert at it.
Her skills came in handy after she completed her degree and began working in a marketing firm in Greenville, where she saw an opportunity to use her creative abilities to save her employer and its clients time and money.
“My job was to manage the agency’s events, and as I was doing it, I realized I could add value by doing things like making the floral arrangements and signage myself,” she says.
Lacey worked full-time and managed her business on the side for a couple of years. One day an office consultant asked her what she’d most like to do and she responded that she wanted to paint. She also wanted more flexibility and freedom to travel.
“I loved my coworkers, my clients and the projects I worked on, but I didn’t love that two-week vacation policy,” she says. “I realized I wanted the freedom to say yes to new opportunities.”
Soon after, she set out on her own and started running her business, Hennessy in the Home, full-time. Her business provides artwork, custom gifts, home décor, and wedding and event planning services. Lacey creates everything from t-shirt designs to painting murals, most recently at Clemson’s new Tipsy Taco restaurant. She also continues to provide event planning services for her former agency.
She’s built an online presence as a blogger and on Instagram, where she posts personally as @Lacey_does and for business @hennesseyinthehome, and which she credits for being hired to paint the Tipsy Taco mural. The project was so successful that she’s been asked to paint four more murals over the next two months.
Lacey says that her training in parks, recreation and tourism management gave her the background and internship opportunities she needed to get started.
“My events planning expertise gave me the value I needed to get in the door,” she says. “My internships helped me build contacts and find my mentor.”
Her advice to current students is to think about what you do well.
“If you have a skill that can help people, you have a potential business idea,” she says. “Someone will pay you for that service.”
You can learn more about Hennessey at the Home at hennesseyinthehome.com.